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John Lees

New Work

March 26 – May 22, 2021

fenced in backyard with  two dogs and figure in the backyard

Press Release

Betty Cuningham Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings by John Lees. The exhibition will open on March 26 and run through May 8, 2021. This will be the artist’s sixth solo show at the Gallery, located at 15 Rivington Street, New York City. An Online Viewing Room will accompany the exhibition.


The exhibition is comprised of 23 paintings and a major work on paper, Sitting in One Place, 2001-2021, measuring 95 in length. Lees spends years working and reworking his paintings and drawings; he often leaves a written diary on the front or back of the work as a physical reminder of the time spent. In much of his recent work, Lees incorporates brighter, more upbeat colors and introduces a more complex narrative. He concentrates less on memories and instead focuses his attention on “his life now.” In Hills of Home we see his backyard, his dogs, Lester and Murphy, and, to the right, a figure in a red coat. In Winter Painting (Two Figures), 2019, two figures, perhaps John and his wife, are featured walking against the blowing snow.

John Lees was born in 1943 in Denville, NJ. He received his BFA and MFA from the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, CA. He has been exhibiting in New York since 1977 and has been an instructor at the New York Studio School since 1988. Lees is the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Hassam, Speicher, Betts, and Symons Purchase Fund Award; the Francis J. Greenburger Award; the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Grant; and the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Grant. His work can be found in a host of public institutions, most notably the Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, MI; the Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, MA; The Kemper Collection, Kansas City, MO; the Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA; the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; and The New Museum, New York, NY. He lives and works in upstate New York. 


The exhibition will remain on view through May 8, 2020 and will be accompanied by an Online Viewing Room.